Friday, June 27, 2008

Adventures with the Robinson Crew, So? - Day 8

Today started out with a good deal of excitement. We enjoyed a few nice minutes of sunshine this morning then it started sprinkling...then it started raining (at which point we went under the tent)...and then, a monsoon. It was quite crazy. So after it got too insane to even be under the tent, we all took off in a dead sprint (many people holding small children) to the closest house, where we proceeded to laugh quite a bit then start making jewelry ( least the women did).
After the storm passed, we had like the most amazing weather that we've had all week. It was perfectly blue sky and sunny with super sweet waves for the second day in a row! So we all ventured out for more boogie boarding which was, once again, awesome. And we got a fabulous "family" pic in the ocean...
Then tonight after dinner, John (JP's dad) took Erica, Kate, John Mark and me on a little sunset boat ride...on which we took more fun pics. 
Now I'm just sitting here being sad that this is the last night. Man, what an amazing week. I have loved the beach and the sun and the water, but I have particularly enjoyed the company! I love my Jesus family...and the extended Robinson family is all KINDS of fun! As JP so eloquently stated: "There ain't no party like a Robinson party 'cause a Robinson party don't stop."'s always a party when you're around a Robinson. haha  And of course there's nothing like spending a whole week with John Mark, Riley, Kate, Erica, Jill and JP. They're truly some of my favorite people on the planet. As much as I don't want to go back and face the real world of schedules and responsibilities and offices, I can definitely say that I'm going back revived and refreshed. This week was much needed...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Adventures with the Robinson Crew, So? - Day 7

So going to bed at 3 AM meant one thing: sleeping in! Didn't get up until about 10:30 this morning which was awesome. It was a pretty rainy day, and there were some ridiculous waves (got up to around 4 feet high)!! So we took full advantage and got the boogie boards out! It was my first boogie boarding fun! 

Of course I forgot that even when it's overcast, you can still sunburn. So I think I go the closest to burning today than I have yet...sorry, Mom :(

Then tonight was dinner with the WHOLE Robinson family at Tacky Jack's...and by WHOLE family, I mean there was somewhere around 35 people on that deck eating. It was some ridiculously good food. I got grilled Mahi Mahi...delicious. And of course there were many pictures taken...
We are all stinkin' wiped out after dinner so everyone headed home and soon hit the sack.

And the quote from today's reading of "Unchristian":

"In studying thousands of outsiders' impressions, it is clear that Christians are primarily perceived for what they stand against. We have become famous for what we oppose, rather than who we are for. Think back to the outsiders' comment. What is her image of Christians? Entrenched-thinking, antigay, antichoice, angry, violent, illogical, empire-building, convert-focused people who cannot live peacefully with others. We are known for having an us-versus-them mentality. Outsiders believe Christians do not like them because of what they do, how they look, or what they believe. They feel minimized - or worse, demonized - by those who love Jesus."

What a very sad thing...if Christians are famous only for what they oppose, who is going to be drawn to that?! There's no life in that! Jesus came to give us life to the full...not a list of things we are supposed to oppose. I pray that I might live a life that is completely founded in both grace AND truth. I do not want to compromise what I believe, but I want everything I do and say to be founded in grace and in love. I want to be defined by what I am FOR, not by what I'm against. 

Adventures with the Robinson Crew, So? - Day 6

Today started with an incredible thunderstorm that eventually fried our TV, so we had to somehow entertain the children minus the outside, the beach, and the TV…which proved to be a bit challenging. John Mark insisted that he was not scared of the storm. However, he did say that he was a baby tiger and the baby tiger was, in fact, scared…so that’s why he was screaming at the thunder. Haha…kids.

Once the storm died down, the sun started to make an appearance so we headed down to the water. JP and Jill came back and we enjoyed yet another day of R&R both in and beside the water. 

I started a new book today that I've been wanting to read for forever called "Unchristian" and it's basically about what this generation of 16-29 year-olds think about Christianity. It's a sobering book based off a huge study that was conducted by The Barna Group. I only read chapter 1 of the book today, but here's the quote for the day:

"...if we do not deal with our part of the problem, we will fail to connect with a new generation. We are not responsible for outsiders' decisions, but we are accountable when our actions and attitudes - misrepresenting a holy, just, and loving God - have pushed outsiders away. Often Christianity's negative image reflects real problems, issues that Christians need to own and be accountable to change. My purpose in writing this book is to pry open the hearts and minds of Christians, to prepare us to deal with a future where people  will be increasingly hostile and skeptical toward us. A new generation is waiting for us to respond." 

Erica and I went on a little run and I actually cooked dinner tonight…yes, cooked. And it actually didn’t turn out to bad.

I mean, it was edible…that’s all I was hoping for. We hung out for a while after dinner then I went out on the deck to do some writing. Then one-by-one, Erica, JP, and Kate all came out on the deck and the stars were just calling our name…we couldn’t fight it. So at about 11:45, we decided to go down to the beach with the guitar. Wow. It was lightning in two different areas outside and there was this pocket of clear sky right above us where we could see the stars in all their majesty! And that pocket stayed clear almost the entire time we were out there. As Kate said, “It’s like God just decided to pull the curtains back for us for a while.” We worshipped by the water for a good hour then went for a walk down the beach…the moonlight was coming through perfectly and lighting up this area of the water. I should stop trying to describe it…suffice it to say, it was just amazing. I just can’t imagine what’s awaiting us one day…if that’s what we get to experience on earth. So we just got back and it’s 2AM…good night!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Adventures with the Robinson Crew, So? - Day 5

So for whatever reason, my will power was much stronger today and I got myself up at 8:00 to run. I’m not sure why I thought it would be cool enough to run at 8:00…it wasn’t. I haven’t sweat that profusely in a long time. Once I got back to the house, Riley came and jumped on me and slid all the way down my arm then looked disgustingly at her hands wandering what that wet, salty substance could possibly be. Apparently little girls just don’t sweat…

Today is JP and Jill’s anniversary so they took a little 24-hour getaway trip, which left Erica and Kate and me in charge of the kids! Today was even hotter than yesterday, so I definitely spent more time in the water. 

While Kate and Erica did some kayaking, I got on the innertube with Maria (JP’s mom) and Riley. We started drifting a little far so we started paddling back. I wasn’t really paying attention to the water until I realized that I had just grabbed some sort of sea creature while paddling. When I looked, I saw that I had grabbed a jellyfish…which of course made Riley freak out a little bit, but all was well. The dolphins have been making an appearance every once in a while, so I caught a little footage of them today.


After wearing ourselves out with our own laziness, we headed back to the house for the classic “babysitter dinner” – mac and cheese with ice cream for dessert! J I’m currently sitting out in the most amazing possible weather on our deck facing the Gulf with the sound of waves in the background…this is just a little piece of heaven right here. I can’t really remember what “normal” life is like…and I’m okay with that right now. I love seeing God in nature. Just looking at the enormity that is the ocean (wait, this is just the GULF!) makes you feel so small and just brings to mind the enormity of our God. When I see the awesomeness of God in nature, I sometimes get this “ache” deep down inside. I'm starting to think that it's like a form of homesickness because I'm catching a small glimpse of what I was truly created to experience. It's a realization that I was created for more than what I’m currently experiencing in this fallen world. And it reminds me of a C.S. Lewis quote (that I’m probably going to botch here) but it goes something like this: If this is the beauty bestowed upon fallen man, what more awaits those who believe in Him? (yeah, I definitely botched it, but you get the idea).

In more exciting news, I finished The Shack today! And I will now admit that it is a great book. The last two-thirds of the book were totally redeeming. I would recommend it to anyone, but especially to anyone who has experienced tragedy in their lives. My quote for today from The Shack comes from the After Words where this guy is talking about Mack, the main just hits me right where I am!

“If you ever get a chance to hang out with Mack, you will soon learn that he’s hoping for a new revolution, one of love and kindness – a revolution that revolves around Jesus and what he did for us all and what he continues to do in anyone who has a hunger for reconciliation and a place to call home. This is not a revolution that will overthrow anything, or if it does, it will do so in ways we could never contrive in advance. Instead it will be the quiet daily powers of dying and serving and loving and laughing, of simple tenderness and unseen kindness, because if anything matters, then everything matters."

Small things with great love...preach it. 

Adventures with the Robinson Crew, So? - Day 4

I had every intention of waking up early and going for a run, but when the alarm went off at 8:00, my mind was saying “yes” and my body was saying “no”…and was saying it much louder. So I slept…

And today was another day full of reading/sleeping/making “dribble castles” on the beach...with a break in between for eating of course. Riley was wearing the cutest swimsuit ever today, so I spent much of my time snapping pics (which will soon be available for your viewing pleasure on Facebook…). I mean, look at this…

And we can't leave out Riley's amazing "Ocean" song and dance...

 There were also a couple of sweet sandcastles made today (neither of them by myself, but cool nonetheless).

Then tonight we partook in some amazing seven-layer dip by Jill and all the females came to our house for some seven-layer dessert bars (ahem…made by myself…yes, I did something in the kitchen that involved ingredients and an oven) and a viewing of “27 Dresses”. By the time the movie was over, there were only a few remaining conscious people left. There’s just something about that sun that stinkin’ wears you out…I love it.

I'm almost finished with The's definitely getting better! There are some really great quotes to pull from it, but my pick for the day is again from Papa (the character for God):

"Nobody knows what horrors I have saved the world from 'cuz people can't see what never happened. All evil flows from independence, and independence is your choice. If I were to simply revoke all the choices of independence, the world as you know it would cease to exist and love would have no meaning. This world is not a playground where I keep all my children free from evil. Evil is the chaos of this age that you brought to me, but it will not have the final say. Now it touches everyone that I love, those who follow me and those who don't. If I take away the consequences of people's choices, I destroy the possibility of love. Love that is forced is no love at all."

Adventures with the Robinson Crew, So? - Day 3

first full day in the sun…

We woke up this morning to the sound of two shrieking children. Thankfully, I was on the top bunk which meant I avoided getting pounced on by said children. But Erica and Kate were blessed to receive both the shrieking and the pouncing. This taught us that if we were wanting to get much sleep, we were going to have to start going to bed earlier. Because when John Mark and Riley are ready for us to get up, we’re getting up.

The vast majority of today was spent either sitting on the beach and reading/relaxing…

or playing in the water...

The weather and the water were absolutely INCREDIBLE today. It was a little overcast, with an incredible breeze. I was also given the name “Fortress of Beachdom” today by one of JP’s sisters…so that’s pretty sweet – although I still really have no idea what it means…besides the fact that I’m tall and that I’m at the beach. haha

I think my mind/body/soul are finally starting to wind down and RELAX...which is amazing…and a little foreign, to be honest. I can’t believe I get to enjoy 5 more days of this! Oh and we can’t forget the amazing sunset that so fittingly closed out this amazing day.

So one of my main goals for the week is to finish each of the many books that I’ve begun over the past few months but never finished. First on the list: The Shack. I can’t figure out what I think about it…there’s some really good things in it but I’m not loving it as much as I wanted to. There are some really thought-provoking things in it, so I would still definitely recommend it. If you haven’t read it, it’s about a guy named Mack who, after experiencing a horrible tragedy, ends up spending a weekend in a shack with God/the Trinity. Anyway, I’m going to start inserting my favorite quote from my readings each day, so the quote for today, from “Papa” (the character of God) to Mack in The Shack:

“You don’t know that we [the Trinity] love you. The person who lives by their fears will not find freedom in my love. I am not talking about rational fears regarding legitimate dangers, but imagined fears, and especially the projection of those into the future. To the degree that those fears have a place in your life, you neither believe I am good nor know deep in your heart that I love you. You sing about it; you talk about it; but you don’t know it.”

Good night.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Adventures with the Robinson Crew, So? - Day 2

So I ended up being the only person in our whole group that had her own bed – which meant I got a good full 9 hours of sleep (minus the half hour that I lost due to the dumb hotel alarm clock going off at 5:30 in the AM…who set that?!?!) while everyone else apparently had quite the restless night. We hit the road again and Riley started getting into the beach spirit…

Lil’ Red got us the rest of the way to Ft. Morgan…that is of course, until we got to the beach house…

After unloading our newly purchased fresh fruit and vegetables (plus over $400 worth of groceries…), the fact that we are actually HERE finally started to settle in. I really can’t remember the last time I had an entire week to do nothing but relax…I hardly know what to do with myself. It might take a couple of days here to actually turn my brain off and stop thinking about things I need to be “doing”, but I’m sure it will happen at some point. Anyway, the rest of today consisted of sitting around, cooking some dinner, going for a little late-evening jog, and relaxing at our super sweet house…which is right across the street from the beach! 

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Adventures with the Robinson Crew, So? - Day 1

So I’ve been looking forward to this trip for months now. I realized only a few days ago that I’ve never actually had a beach vacation! I’ve been to plenty of beaches, but have never had an entire week of nothing but the beach. When I went on vacations as a kid, we always went to the mountains...which is also amazing. But there’s just something about the sand and the sun and the water. There are few things more relaxing. Plus I can hardly think of a more FUN group of people to be going with! And thanks to my genius cousin, Ross, we decided to name our trip the “Robinson Crew, So?”…get it?...mwahaha

So Day 1: We packed 5 adults, 2 kids, and a ridiculous amount of food/luggage into a mini-van we’ve affectionately named “Lil’ Red” but were then cramped in the car for a FULL HOUR before we ever left Franklin! A combination of a blown fuse, full bladders, and a car that was continually bottoming out due to the weight in the back end caused for a few pit stops before we left town. (I’m not sure why we felt like it would be a good idea to put the three of us in the back…but that just didn’t last long…)

The car ride was nothing short of an adventure…we started out with a little “Zachary Hated Bumblebees”…

…which eventually led to watching some Robin Hood (for which we had to produce our own voice-overs because the volume on the MacBook just wasn’t cutting it)…and were soon enjoying a little Riley Robinson original entitled “Blue Eyed Boy”…which proved to just be too much for John Mark.

We ended up in Montgomery at around 11:30 where we spent the night…anxiously awaiting the next day…

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Family Time

"The Jesus movement is a revolution that dances. Celebration is at the very core of our kingdom, and hopefully that celebration will make its way into the darkest corners of our world."    Shane Claiborne

I experienced a foretaste of heaven tonight. I saw things that my eyes have never seen and felt things that my heart has never felt. I saw worlds colliding and a new vision of "community" starting to form. I saw children who have no fathers clinging for dear life to the necks of godly men who they'd never met before tonight. I saw poor kids playing and laughing with rich kids with no care as to how different they were - they were just enjoying life together! I saw 3 high school girls talking to a lonely 85 year old widow in her living room for well over 15 minutes. I saw a single mom from the suburbs sitting and sharing life with a single mom from the projects. I saw about 40 Christians step out of their comfort zone to be the hands and feet of Jesus and as a result, got a taste of what "life to the full" is all about. I saw a group of people in a neighborhood become MORE than just a service project, but started to become friends. I saw the vision of "family" get blown out of the roof. Biological family is too small of a vision. A love for our own families and even our "church families" is not a bad thing, but our love cannot stop there!        

When we stop viewing the world as "us" and "them", I think we start moving closer and closer to the true Kingdom. When we start realizing that we are all flesh and blood, I think we start to catch the vision that God has for his people. So in Isaiah 58, when God says to not turn away from your own flesh and blood, He meant all of humanity. We were all cut from the same cloth. It's not like when God created me, I requested, "Uh, yeah, I'll take Lubbock, TX, plenty of money to live comfortably, and a loving Christian family." No. Those were all gifts that He blessed me with. I had nothing - NOTHING - to do with that. So to view the world as "us" versus "them" is just sinful and far from truth. One of the most simple, but profound, statements from tonight came from one of our moms who said, "I was a little scared to go down there, but then I realized...they're a whole lot like me!"

There's something about sharing celebration, laughter, and sidewalk chalk with people you'd usually not hang out with. As Shane Claiborne said, "It is a beautiful thing when folks in poverty are no longer just a missions project but become genuine friends and family with whom we laugh, cry, dream and struggle." There's something about experiencing love without borders. It just feels like heaven. My heart felt like it was going to explode a few times tonight. It made me think that if I can experience this kind of joy and love and community and fulfillment on earth, what could possibly be awaiting us in heaven?! Blows my mind...meanwhile, I can't WAIT to go back and hang out with my new little brothers and sisters.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Run-ons and Nick Carter

So one of my pet peeves has officially become run-on sentences because one of my co-workers has this amazing ability to put about 8 sentences into 1 and it can be really hard to understand what is trying to be communicated but maybe I'm just being ridiculous because at work they call me the Grammar Nazi because I'm a stickler when it comes to grammar because I just think it's important and because my mom is a grammar teacher so it's just instilled in the very core of my being so I can't really help it that these run-on sentences drive me so crazy and I'm going to try to care less but I really just wish that everyone would see that punctuation marks are their friend! :)

In other news, I saw Nick Carter at the Kroger in Cool Springs today. We walked by each other, our eyes met. It was magic.